saMsAra = Reincarnation?

Richard Salomon rsalomon at
Tue Feb 14 21:25:28 UTC 1995

It seems to me that words like jaati, janman, etc., even without the punar, 
are in fact the equivalent, or "correct translation," of English 
"reincarnation", and are so used, at least in Sanskrit.  Etymologically they 
mean just 'birth' or 'incarnation', 
but since all incarnation is reincarnation, it comes to the same thing.

Richard Salomon
Univ. of Washington

On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, Lance Nelson wrote:

> Since everyone is busy discussing the momentous issue of moderation, I 
> thought this might be a good time to ask a question that, however dumb, 
> relates to the actual subject matter of the list.
> I notice that in most English language textbooks, the word "saMsAra" is 
> given as the Indic translation of "reincarnation."  However, I notice 
> that in my reading of VedAnta texts, "saMsAra" generally means something 
> more like "world."  So, my question is: What is the correct translation 
> for the noun "reincarnation" (or, I suppose, "transmigration") in 
> Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages?  Is there a word, such as 
> "punarjanma," that is actually in use to designate reincarnation without 
> reference to the cyclic world in which it occurs?
> ---------------------------
> Lance Nelson
> Religious Studies    
> University of San Diego
> lnelson at
> ---------------------------

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